In the '80s, new wave played like a rebellious response to a robotic society, promoting lusty androgyny among the unfeeling androids. Many of its current practitioners resurrect the musical methodology without maintaining the forward-thinking feel. The Epoxies' Stop the Future, an irresistible hybrid of glitzy keyboard melodies and serrated pop-punk hooks, sounds simultaneously retro-inspired and strikingly modern. Lyrically, the group digs beyond the genre's sexy-fun sheen to address societal alienation and technological terrors. But much to singer Roxy Epoxy's dismay, lazy critics hear synthesizers and immediately liken her outfit to today's suit-sporting slavish retreads.
"It's so presumptuous to pigeonhole us that way," she says. "People who brush us off with those bands aren't really listening."
When The Epoxies played their first gigs in Portland, Ore., five years ago, comparisons with popular and stylistically similar contemporaries were of no concern. "Down-and-dirty rock bands" dominated the local scene, Epoxy says, and the group formed as a glammed-up alternative. The Epoxies exerted exorbitant energy on a stage show before they even developed a following, spending hours on elaborate duct-tape-intensive costumes and lavish stage ornamentation to entertain single-digit crowds.
"We'd watch other groups roll guitar amps and a drum kit onto the stage, and we'd joke with them, 'You have it so easy,'" Epoxy says.
After two albums on tiny hometown labels, the group stepped up to Fat Wreck Chords for Stop the Future, a move that put a few more bulbs in its kaleidoscopic light show. However, its theatrical ambition still outreaches its means.
"The ideas we can come up with are more than the five of us and our income could handle," Epoxy says. "They'd basically kill us. But we'd love to hang down from the ceiling from bungee cords, or rise up through the stage. Who knows what the future will bring?"
The Epoxies with The Aquabats
6:30 pm Wednesday, June 22